By Joe Haggerty
DETROIT The Bruins came out of the chute Sunday with plenty of jump, physicality and verve, as they were ready to avenge Friday nights embarrassing loss to the Red Wings. But they faded as the game moved along and once again had difficulty slowing down the skilled, surgeon-like Wings in a 4-2 loss to Detroit at the historic Joe Louis Arena."They played really tight in the defensive zone and the neutral zone," said Bruins wingerMilan Lucic, who was kept off the score sheet and off the 'hit chart'. "You definitely have to work really hard to get your chances, and that's what's made them a good hockey club for a long time here."We felt really good before the game and in the first period, and it's just too bad we couldn't get the job done."Todd Bertuzzi scored the backbreaker for the Wings with less than six minutes to go in the third period, giving Detroit a resounding home-and-home sweep of the Bs.There were some good things going on for the Bruins as Tyler Seguin responded with a goal minutes into the game, and both Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder played with some energy and effectiveness. But Patrice Bergerons line was once again neutralized by the Wings, and there was nothing from key offensive players like Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton.A Brad Marchand mistake in front of Tim Thomas during a line change led to a Todd Bertuzzi goal, and a neutral zone breakdown by Seguin and Dennis Seidenberg led to the game-winning strike for Kris Draper in the second period. Marchand scored a power-play goal in the second to make amends for his early game mistake, but the Bruins couldnt generate much offense after a good first period.They were outshot 19-5 in the second period. That period sucked momentum out of the Bruins and couldnt find a way to reignite the flame. Joe Haggerty can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
BOSTON – Fresh off a strong performance allowing just a single goal on 31 shots in his preseason debut, Tuukka Rask looked close to the top of his game and exactly where he needs to be with the regular season a couple of weeks away. Nearly as important as Rask’s state as the regular season nears, the Bruins coaching staff has been keeping a keen eye through camp on the all-important backup goaltender position as well.
It’s important that the Bruins have a quality backup goalie in place as they hope to start Rask in just 55-60 games this season, and manage the slender puck-stopper in a way where they can get the best out of him from beginning to end. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy indicated Anton Khudobin has the inside track on the backup job after finding his groove in the second half of last season, and it would appear he’s well on his way to retaining his job with a Malcolm Subban/Zane McIntyre tandem in Providence.
“Tuukka looks good, and looks good in practice and healthy. So that’s reassuring,” said Cassidy. “[Anton Khudobin] I thought played very well in his game. He had the one unfortunate goal, but I thought he was rock-solid the rest of the game. He’s in very good shape and he’s practiced well, so he’s got a leg up on the other [goalies] based on his experience.
“We know that going in, but he’s going to get pushed. Zane [McIntyre] was good in a game, and Malcolm let in a couple where he could have been more aggressive. But it was a first game, so right now they all look good. That’s a good problem to have if they all push each other, but to get direct to the point Anton has done nothing to lose that backup spot.”
At this point, it would likely be McIntyre rather than Subban that would challenge for the NHL backup job if Khudobin did stumble at all in training camp or early in the regular season as he did last year. There will be no backup controversy, however, if the 31-year-old plays like he did in stopping 20-of-22 shots in Tuesday night’s win vs. the Red Wings or as he did going 6-1-0 with a .922 save percentage after the All-Star break last season.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while already hating my fantasy football team just a couple of weeks into things.
*Interesting look at why NHL players hate analytics and why most of them don’t even care what Corsi is or how it’s tabulated.
*Interesting piece on the play-by-play for Bruins radio, where over 200 applicants threw their hat in the ring to replace Dave Goucher as the voice of the Bruins. FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ryan Johnston is one of the finalists and has great on the call on Tuesday night, so count me as rooting for him to wind up getting the gig he’s worked his whole life for.
*This is actually a fairly thoughtful and well-researched blog post on the Blackhawks logo and why it’s unfair to claim that it’s racist using the same arguments as for the Washington Redskins or the Cleveland Indians.
*It’s unfortunate, but an arena conflict between the Flames and the city of Calgary is the same kind of thing that’s forced franchises to move in other NHL cities.
*Good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Craig Custance about Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Sheahan and the bond he has with one Michigan family and one special little boy.
*Count the Winnipeg Jets among the teams that are going to have former NHL referees stop by training camp to give them the lowdown on slashing and face-offs. I think everybody understands the slashing enforcement, but this face-off stuff is ridiculous.
*For something completely different: I’ve enjoyed “Billy on the Street” while it’s been on TruTV, but it looks like it’s finding a new home soon.